Abby and Ethan's Pastured Pork Alderspring Ranch Berkshire Pigs Pastured Pork Nitrate Free Bacon

Ethan and Abby's Pastured Pork: Pig Elevated.

That's Ethan and Abby above (and dear daughter). Abby is Glenn and Caryl's daughter. She married Ethan. Now, I know those shorts that he's got on aren't really very Western, but they actually tell a story all their own, and are a sort of tribute to their high level of expertise in the realm of pastured pigs. You see, Ethan and Abby have worked for and with porcine pastoralists the world over, from Ethan's experience with Joel Salatin of Polyface farms in Virginia to their living on Box Gum Grazing in New South Wales, Australia (those Aussies like shorts, mate). He's not only journeyman, but expert in creating not only sustainably raised pig, but authentic artisanal flavor in an otherwise industrialized pig world where concrete floor and closed roof corn and soy fed hogs are defined by the absolute absence of flavor. It's why there's entire supermarket aisles devoted to sauces and rubs that bring flavor to pork.

It's also why conventional pig meat is cheap; hogs have become the garbage disposal for commercial agriculture. We could tell many stories of the poor life of pig, but this is not the place.

Enter hope: a better way that perhaps leads to pig perfected. Far back, in the ancient lineages of hog, there lies a genetic that forages a la wild pig. It is these heritage genetics that Ethan and Abby searched for before settling on a foraging cross (partly comprised of Red Wattle and Berkshire breeds) that they believed would thrive on the wild Certified Organic pastures of high altitude Alderspring. And thrive they did.

Ethan sourced local barley, hard red wheat and sugar snap peas that he hand milled to supplement the omnivore's desires of a diverse diet (both barley and wheat are not treated with glyphosate!). Then, they added a carefully cultured sourdough starter that finds its roots in the Klondike of Gold Rush Alaska. This fragrant blend then fermented over 24 hours and led to a sort of porcine paradise. Meanwhile, the pigs grazed and rooted across Alderspring, moving to new pastures each week under Ethan and Abby's careful training and management. It eliminated any need for chemical wormers, making for pristine pork (they did feed them locally harvested garlic and diatomaceous earth to be proactive about parasite control). Ethan and Abby's hogs live clean lives, not ever encased in muck or their own waste as commercial hogs can be. These porkers eat what they want and when in a cornucopia of pasture plant choice. The result: pork that found flavor. We think it's the most flavorful and tender we've tried. A sort of managed, yet wild pig. Hog heaven? We think so.



Here's Ethan and Abby's own Pastured Pork Protocol:

Fresh Free Choice Pasture. Our pigs are raised on Alderspring Ranch's certified organic pasture from weanling stage to finish. After training (pigs are very intelligent and teachable), they are moved to a new electric-fenced paddock every week so they can graze, root and explore new territory to their hearts' content.

Corn and Soy free feed. Our pigs are fed a supplemental diet of local barley, red wheat (most grown in our own Pahsimeroi Valley) and untreated sugar snap peas that we source, grind and mix ourselves. None of the feedstuffs were sprayed with glyphosate as a dry down agent.

Sourdough Fermentation. These pigs dine on the divine. Ethan and Abby add an artisanal 100 year old sourdough starter (brought through generations by cowhand's Anthony's family) to every batch of grain before eating. The result: sweetly mellowed and pre-digested peas and barleys.

Small Family Processor. Our pigs are humanely (we wouldn't have it any other way) slaughtered and processed at the same family abattoir that processes our beef, one at a time. They are hog handling and curing experts, first with a fresh pork line and then adding smoke and cure in organic processes to things like hams, bacon and sausage.

Heritage Breeds. We source heritage cross piglets for their flavor, resilience and desire to graze.

Leave No Trace Portability. Our entire pig operation is completely portable, which means when we finish pigs in the fall, there is no trace except for slightly rough pig-tilled ground and increased soil fertility.

Humanely Raised. Pigs are very social animals, but living in cramped conditions can make them quarrelsome. Because our pigs are raised outside on green grass, they have plenty of room and lots of other things (like digging for tasty quackgrass roots) to keep them busy. Their favorite thing is to be moved to fresh ground, where they can explore and seek out the tastiest bits of greenery. They also can appreciate a good belly scratch.

Completely Traceable. You can rest assured that your pig was raised here, on our ranch, in the heart of Idaho, by Ethan and Abby Kelly. Each package of fresh pork is traceable to a single animal as with our beef. The cured pork items, like hams and bacon, are done in 8 head batches, still traceable to the where and how.